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On the sidelines of the Grand Prix: the bang against sexual exploitation

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About fifty prostitution survivors and members of organizations took to the streets yesterday in the Crescent in Montreal to demonstrate against sexual exploitation in the heart of an already compact crowd that had joined the F1 celebrations.

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“We wanted to hold a demonstration in the middle of the Grand Prix to be as close as possible to the first interested customers, that is, the customers who are in the crowd, even if it is not the majority. […] Parallel to F1, there is a marked increase in prostitution every year. It’s time to face it, “said director Geneviève Albert, who organized the event.


About fifty protesters, including actress Kelly Depeault from the film Noémie dit oui (far right), were on Crescent Street yesterday to demonstrate.

Photo QMI Agency, Thierry Laforce

About fifty protesters, including actress Kelly Depeault from the film Noémie dit oui (far right), were on Crescent Street yesterday to demonstrate.

On the spot, about fifty people took part in the artistic event pointing to a luminous panel where they could read Buying sex is a crime [acheter du sexe est un crime]. At least a third of them had already had a connection with prostitution.

Then they screened a scene from Noémie says yesfilm released last April that tells the journey of a teenager who accepted against her will to prostitute herself for the weekend of the Grand Prix, under the yoke of a charismatic pimp.

As the event approaches, which attracts many sex tourists, several organizations have already raised their voices to voice their concerns about sexual exploitation, especially of minors.

“We just wanted to show that it’s happening around us and that we really need to stop buying kids. While there are car races and celebrations, others get screwed in hotel rooms, “says actress Kelly Depeault, who plays the role of Noémie, bluntly.

A responsibility

According to Geneviève Albert, even though Formula 1 is not responsible for prostitution, the organizers do not do enough to educate their customers.

“The idea is not to abolish the Grand Prix, it’s just that [faudrait] that it happens without causing an explosion of prostitution for the duration of the event ”, he adds.

The organization Concertation des fights contre l’exploitationsexual (CLES) wanted to take home the message that buying sex is a crime with serious consequences.

“It’s violence against women, especially girls,” says Jennie-Laure Sully, community organizer at CLES.

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